I genuinely discovered Dashing Marbles by a random link up with Russ Forster on facebook and I can’t stop listening to their album ‘Complete’. Russ is/was/is a key member of the band Dashing Marbles and he kindly sent me a soundcloud link to their recently released album that began in 1989. You can never rush a good thing and this release has been well worth the wait.
The story-as I understand it- is that Dashing Marbles part recorded the album in 1989 at Steve Albini’s home studio (tracks 1-6) and completed it in 1995 at King Size Studio, Chicago (tracks 7-13). The key musicians are/were/are Russ Forster on bass, guitar and backing vocals and Joey Aspect on lead vocals and several guest musicians have contributed along the way including Erika Hoffmann vocals/violin, Dion Fischer ring modulator/guitar/Moog synthesizer, Wade Kergan Farfisa organ/clarinet.
Moving onto the tuuuunes.
Track 1′ In The Name Of The Lord’ at just over 1 min 30 secs reminded me of the Buzzcocks song ‘Oh Shit’ which is about the same length in time and both just want to cut out the fancy garnish and simply give us the meat. Fantastic bass sound, raw vocals and power chord guitar-rock n roll as it should be.
Track 2-‘Words’ has that growling bass again and I can hear many influences that have helped shape this sound and considering it was recorded in 1989 it is remarkably fresh sounding.
Track 3-‘In My Car’, I really loved the backing vocals and it reminded me of B 52’s for some reason.
Track 4-‘On My Couch’ is a fantastic song and the bass line made me think of the song Itchycoo Park by the Small Faces which is not a bad thing. A growling, prowling bass line that keeps you guessing where it will go next. Vocals almost naive sounding but just right for the song.
Track 5-‘MTV Girls’ hits you with a great guitar sound that is lovely in it’s rawness and vocals very similar to The Slits at their best. I like the almost shallow subject of this song and probably a reminder that life was more simple back in the 1980’s!
Track 6-‘Dancing Queen’. Yes that classic ABBA song but not like you’ve ever heard it before. WHY was this not played extensively in the early 1990’s? It’s a serious must listen for any ABBA fan! Slow. moody, raw and slightly grungy and the backing vocals put a big smile on my face.
OK halfway through the album and the recording now jumps to 1995.
Track 7-‘Think About It’, synthesizers/keys are now more prominent and the singing sounds more nuanced and subtle. Musicianship has definitely moved up a notch or two since the 1989 recordings.
Track 8-‘Nice Time’ has a really catchy melody and deserves several plays-DO NOT MOVE ON FROM THIS TOO QUICKLY
Track 9-‘Mya’ I loved from start to very quick finish and again a really menacing bass that would sound great live.
Track 10-‘Traffic’ has a great drum beat and works well with the bass to give a solid rhythm that holds the songs together, power pop, power punk, power grunge…….take your pick it’s power just the same
Track 11-‘Je Pense A Toi’ which means I think or I care about you (I think) has a more complex sound and is a great track, fragile guitar sounds that you think will fall apart at times but whatever the era this is a beautiful song that deserves your time……and ears for a little while.
Track 12-‘Shopping’ fantastic bass, guitar and drums sound. The opening bass line and sound reminded me of ‘Borstal Breakout’ by Sham 69 from 1979 but that’s probably just me showing my age…….great sound just the same.
Track 13-‘Capetown’ all of the above, all of the above, all of the above. really catchy and only lasting 1 min 5 secs. Bands these days seem to lack the confidence to write short songs but this track shows it can be done successfully.
I heard so many influences in The Dashing Marbles and after a chat with Russ he mentioned many more influences that I have not included above. Perhaps that’s the magic of this album and the songs make everyone think they have heard this sound before-only you haven’t. Give it a listen and listen to something you have definitely not heard before.
Peace, Love and Cowbells